Japanese bullet train firm halts 'scary' safety drills
Updated 15:34, 04-Nov-2018
A Japanese railway company has halted a training program which required employees to crouch in tunnels while trains rushed past. This move comes after rising pressure from train workers unions.
The West Japan Railway, which runs bullet trains, said the purpose of the safety drills was to improve awareness.
People who took part in the drills need to crouch down in a trench between two sets of parallel railway tracks as bullet trains passed by. The trains can hit speeds of 300 km per hour.
The drill began in 2016 after an incident happened in August, 2015, during which a metal part fell from a train and one passenger was injured.
It is reported that 240 trainee mechanics have taken part in the drills.
The company said they want to improve their worker's car inspection skills, as well as the safety awareness after the accident.
However, participants described the drills as "scary" and "just like a public flogging," according to local media.
"The wind pressure was enormous. I felt as if I had been pressed down from above, and it was scary. I wonder what the meaning of such training is." a participant told a local newspaper.
The West Japan Railway Workers Union said it called on the company to stop the program eight times since last year.
But the railway company denied that the decision of stopping the drills is a result of outside pressure.
(Cover photo: A Japanese railway company has halted the training which required employees to crouch in tunnels while trains rushed past. /VCG Photo)